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The Killing: The Season’s Smartest New Crime Series

The Killing: The Season's Smartest New Crime Series

It’s not too late to catch up with The Killing, AMC’s gripping, atmospheric new detective series about the murder of a teenaged girl in Seattle. I was too busy with Borgias and Kennedys to catch last week’s premiere myself, but it’s easy and definitely worth doing.

The two hour pilot will be repeated Sunday just before the new episode, or you can watch it on

You’ll find an enigmatic heroine in Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos, who played twin wives in Big Love) , a homicide detective and single mother about to move away with her son and marry her fiancee. But the murder of high-school student Rosie Larsen keeps her in town – and under the endless rain that adds to the somber tone. Enos plays the role with perfect subtlety; we can see that Sarah is quietly in turmoil.

The series gives equal attention to Rosie’s family; her parents are affectingly played by Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton. And the investigation instantly leads in the direction of a mayoral campaign, with Billy Campbell playing a politician who has a very complicated life.

Some early reviews compared The Killing to Twin Peaks, but there’s none of David Lynch’s surreal style here. It reminds me more of Damages in its early, best seasons: taut and surprising. The show doesn’t break any molds; in fact it’s based on a Danish series. But it is remarkably well done.

Here’s a preview of tonight’s episode, a scene set in Rosie’s school:

And here’s the mayoral candidate with one of his advisers.

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